As some of you know, my wife died last week after a short illness. Known to you in my books as my "American Patriot" she was 41 years old and the love of my life. I wish I could say to you that it is fine and all will be good but it is not...I will never be the same even though I accepted it as far as is humanely possible to do at this stage. To those who left encouraging messages to me - I thank you, it is highly appreciated. You go through stages of anger and grief and your faith is severely tested in many ways. However, I know it is only faith which makes you believe that you will meet again and I pity those who don't have faith during these times - they are all alone. So the death of my wife is not the end of us but in law it is and that is what I want to write about today for life goes on - it waits for no man.
Regrettably I have seen death many times before. During my days in the South African Police Force I saw death daily and never stopped to marvel at how much blood a human body contains. So it is nothing new to me but I can tell you, the very last thing you want to hear is "it will be OK" or "don't cry, it is life" and other well-meant senseless advice. It takes time and many tears to get through such an event when it is close family.
I included a chapter on the legalities of death in my book The Circle of Life and an additional booklet called About your Last Will & Testament to warn against the risk of letting a bankster (your worst enemy) be involved with the drafting of your testament. I urge you to read the above and to get your affairs in order before it is too late. Life is not a right you or your lawyer can effectively enforce - it is a privilege which may be taken away at any stage. You just don't know when it will happen and hence you need to identify a few things whilst the deceased is still alive. For instance you need to know where the insurance policies are if any. Or what the passwords for the social media are because it must be closed. Or what the deceased wanted in terms of burial or cremation and where. Especially you need to understand the effect of a living will which is where you, as living spouse, must decide to switch the machines off or not. Luckily Melissa and I spoke about these topics before and it was easy for me to make the right decision (with her family) but let me tell you, it was also the most heart rendering decision ever in my life.
We have a saying in law that anyone who can tell the legal profession when a person is dead will receive a doctorate without further questions asked. It used to be when your heart stops beating but then came Dr Chris Barnard and replaced the non-beating heart back in 1969 at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town. Yes, the first heart transplant was not in America but South Africa. As a matter of interest he changed the legal definition for death - still - when asked by a subsequent Judicial Commission on when someone is dead his only answer was "he is dead when I say so" which did not help the cause much. Ever since the medical men talked about brain dead as being dead but even that has legal problems - we often hear of a comatose women being raped by a sick individual - or is that necrophilia if strictly according to the law? How far does the law allow you to commit euthanasia where you hasten death by medical intervention? You need to know these things for you cannot dodge it.
Death is serious businesses in law besides the money to be made by banksters (your worst enemy) from the late estate if you are silly enough to allow them anywhere near you. When you die all sorts of things legally happen - you lose your human rights immediately for you are not a human anymore. You lose your properties and it must be divided according to your testament which is a very serious legal document - don't play the fool with it. You also cannot be sued anymore but your late estate certainly can and will be if there is money due on them which is not paid. Your marriage is also now over and your partner free to carry on if so inclined and much more besides the above.
Let me hasten to add, I will probably never marry again and have no desire for a new relationship at all. But the law will allow you to do so and in the old days, during Roman Law times, the wife could not remarry until one year past after her husband's death. This was for the sake of any unborn children so that no dispute arose on who the father could be - they used the pater est quem test for fatherhood and also by appearances alone - it is all in my book The Circle of Life. Interestingly, if the husband was a prisoner of war he was considered dead under Roman Law...as you can imagine that led to many coming home and having no estate left so certain laws came into being on that topic too. Up to very recently no woman could inherit without her husband agreeing. So as you can see - it is complicated because it is a subject no-one wants to discuss - be prepared before it is too late. It is something which will happen to you in your future.
Koos Kotze is a former member of the South African Police Force. He served between 1985 and 1991 primarily as a sergeant in the Pretoria Flying Squad. During his police years, he was awarded the South African Police Medal for Combating Terrorism twice besides lesser awards. After leaving the Police Force he obtained the law degrees B Iuris & LLB at the University of the Free State (Bloemfontein, South Africa) and was a commercial law attorney for eight years. These days he is the owner of JKLS Africa and Associates, a specialist legal consultancy which specializes in reducing legal risk in sub Saharan Africa. He wrote several books on business, law, counter-terrorism and security issues. At times he is asked to participate on the Voice of America regarding legal forensic matters.